Jun 7, 2018
43
84
Now that the cycle is over, I wanted to share some thoughts in case any underclassmen, who will be interviewing next year or later, on would find them helpful. I can't comment on whether or not it was a successful interview season, because I haven't matched yet, but this is what I thought in general.

1) Interview season is a lot of fun. You'll be meeting applicants from all across the country, and meet some cool people. It's fun to hang out with them, learn about their schools, hang out with residents, learn about their programs, etc. Socials are generally a lot of fun. I was told that the OMFS community is a small world before interviewing, and now I'm starting to see that's really true. I feel as if I'll keep in touch with a lot of people I met on the trail, run into a bunch of people at AAOMS over the next few years, etc. Interview season is also the most traveling I've ever done; it's really cool to see different cities and different parts of the country, each with their own unique vibe, culture, food, etc.

2) Interview season is expensive. I kept a pretty close eye on my expenses. Application fees, secondaries, flights, gas, tolls, accommodations, food, leisure, Uber etc for 12 interviews came in at $7,800. This worked out to $650 per interview, but not all interviews cost the same. If you're applying broadly and need to fly more than drive, it will be more expensive. If you have a smaller couch surfing network or prioritize staying at a hotel very close to the hospital, it will be more expensive. I drove to more long distance interviews than the average person, and probably split accommodations/couch surfed more than the average person. I also didn't interview on the opposite side of the country, so your expenses will vary. If you are applying to only one specific geographic region, your expenses will be a lot less. The bottom line is you need to account for this expense ahead of time, whether it be through requesting additional loans from the school, using private residency interview loans, saving money from a part-time job etc.

3) Everything matters less than we think it does. Nobody cares about your CBSE score, rank, letters etc, or else you wouldn't be there for the interview in the first place. The faculty and residents just want to see if you're normal and if they can tolerate you for 6 years. Have a general idea of how to answer "tell me about yourself", "why oral surgery", "what do you like to do for fun", as well as how to discuss any significant work/life experience you have outside of school, externships, research, and your dental school experience. Knowing how to talk about how all of these things naturally without sounding rehearsed or scripted covers 85-90% of the discussions you'll have during interviews. Just be normal. Other questions you might get are usually not intimidating or random, but these are the bread and butter. If anything, it's more important to think of questions you have for your interviewers. You will be asked "do you have any questions for us?" at every single interview, so that's something you should put some thought into preparing. If you can't think of anything, a good generic cop-out could be asking them their favorite procedure, what their favorite part about being a faculty member is, what advice they would give to their former self, etc.

4) Always keep your eyes and ears open during all your interviews, as you'll learn a ton about the program, especially if it's a place where you haven't externed. Residents are always helpful and willing to answer questions about the program; a great resource. They give honest answers about the program dynamic and culture, their living situation, quality of training etc. Obviously, you want to learn as much as you can about the program at which you're interviewing from its current residents, but residents and fellow applicants alike can sometimes know things about other programs on your list that you hadn't previously learned. There is a lot of information out there so it's great to always be paying attention. Try to consolidate your thoughts and all the info you learned from the presentation/conversations right after your interview so you don't forget; they can start to run together.

I'm happy to answer more specific questions if any underclassmen have them. Disclaimer is I'm just a D4 who finished interviewing and hasn't matched yet. Current residents or anyone else who has been through this before can chime in and throw in their two cents. This site has a lot of dumb nonsense, but also a ton of great information, and I hope this can spark a useful discussion/encourage more people to share info.
 
Last edited:
May 6, 2018
122
190
Status
Dental Student
@White_Sponge_Nevus, we really appreciate this! Definitely looking forward to hearing how your match goes. I have a couple questions other future applicants might share.

1) Could you break down what a typical interview day is like? How many applicants are typically there for the day? What are the hours? What time is the social the night before? How many faculty interview you?

2) Did residents seem like a good third party group for getting straightforward answers to questions? From your sense, how mindful should we be of what we ask residents? For example, if I wanted to ask what call is like, or about the culture of the program, etc. I don't want to risk those being passed onto faculty and coming off the wrong way.

3) Did you have a list of things you wanted to know about each program before you went? What should we be finding out while we have the chance to visit?

4) What do you think is the ideal and maximum number of interviews an applicant could take? I've heard 10 is a good number with 12-14 being the realistic maximum given dental school obligations.

5) Dental school interviews were almost laughably conversational. Not expecting OS to be as casual, but was there any point where the heat is turned? Did any point in interviews make you feel like you were being tested? Did you receive tough questions about anything on your application or your interest?

6) How does scheduling interviews work? On the thread, there appeared to be a bunch of "trading" going on, with some people seeming pretty desperate for a switch. What's going on with that? Any tips or advice?
 
OP
White_Sponge_Nevus
Jun 7, 2018
43
84
@White_Sponge_Nevus, we really appreciate this! Definitely looking forward to hearing how your match goes. I have a couple questions other future applicants might share.

1) Could you break down what a typical interview day is like? How many applicants are typically there for the day? What are the hours? What time is the social the night before? How many faculty interview you?

2) Did residents seem like a good third party group for getting straightforward answers to questions? From your sense, how mindful should we be of what we ask residents? For example, if I wanted to ask what call is like, or about the culture of the program, etc. I don't want to risk those being passed onto faculty and coming off the wrong way.

3) Did you have a list of things you wanted to know about each program before you went? What should we be finding out while we have the chance to visit?

4) What do you think is the ideal and maximum number of interviews an applicant could take? I've heard 10 is a good number with 12-14 being the realistic maximum given dental school obligations.

5) Dental school interviews were almost laughably conversational. Not expecting OS to be as casual, but was there any point where the heat is turned? Did any point in interviews make you feel like you were being tested? Did you receive tough questions about anything on your application or your interest?

6) How does scheduling interviews work? On the thread, there appeared to be a bunch of "trading" going on, with some people seeming pretty desperate for a switch. What's going on with that? Any tips or advice?
All great questions. Thanks for asking them! I'm happy to answer anything and these are the kind of questions that foster good discussion from which people can learn, which was the point of doing this in the first place.

1) This varies widely. Socials are typically the night before the interview, but some can be immediately after. Number of applicants also varies. Some programs hold interviews only on one day, so there are likely more (25 or even more) applicants there at once. Other programs split them up so there are fewer, 15 or so, each group. My groups ranged from 12 to somewhere in the 30s. Number of faculty interviewing you also widely varies. Some 1-on-1, some 5 or even 7 on 1 group panels, lots of 2 on 1. Most programs it seems like anyone who is a full-time or close to full-time attending will interview, regardless of if they are director, chair, mainly OR, mainly clinic etc. Med school representatives typically have some role in 6 year program interviews, while some programs do not, and next year's (your intern year's) chiefs usually interview you as well.

2) Residents were remarkably helpful and provided candid answers. As long as you're normal, I wouldn't worry about asking them questions. They're happy to help and want you to be well-informed. Asking about call, program culture etc is absolutely fair game. Getting to know the residents, especially ones you'll interact with during your time at the program if you match there, is really important. Talking to them is a great chance to do that.

3) This varies for everybody, but you're on the right track for coming up with things you want to know about the program. One good way to approach this is to go over every single line of the program's website (curriculum breakdown, stipend, faculty, facilities etc). Anything here that doesn't get answered, you can ask follow-up/clarification. Outside of this, I personally wanted to know the following about the programs where I interviewed:
  • what is the relationship between OMFS and Prosth? (complex implant experience) and Ortho? (orthognathic surgery experience)
  • what is the relationship between OMFS and Plastics? (craniofacial and cosmetics experience) and ENT? (trauma call/cancer experience)
  • what is the role of OMFS in the craniofacial team? (niche to my interest)
  • what are each of the attendings like to work with in the OR, and what kind out autonomy do they give residents? (polite way to ask how much of the case they have residents cut vs how much they cut themselves)
  • same for roles of residents vs fellows if program has any
  • what is the medical school experience like? (usually a good way to open up the convo for residents to bring up if moonlighting as allowed/not allowed, also how you're treated during clerkships, any scholarships/deals on tuition that aren't advertised on the website etc)
  • what are the gen surg and anesthesia experiences like? (autonomy, duration, quality of education etc)
  • how much collaboration goes on with the dental school? (do you have any teaching responsibilities, what's the referral base like)
  • what's it like to live here? (what is there to do for fun, do residents rent vs buy, what are some good restaurants etc)
  • is call in-house? what's the schedule like? (usually listed as Q4 or whatever it is, but they can tell you more details)
  • do residents hang out a lot outside of the hospital? do they get along? (some residents may be married with kids, and that's okay, but I would want to go somewhere where people hang out with each other outside of work)

This are concrete but open ended questions you can as to invite residents to share their thoughts. I'm sure other people can chime in with a lot more, but this is usually what I like to ask. You can ask about hard numbers of cases/implants, but usually those will be provided to you and won't have to ask. This really highlights the importance of trying to extern at a program at which you think you'd like to train, because you can get a feel for this stuff firsthand over the course of a week rather than trying to keep track of it all in a few hours.

Also, this highlights the importance of doing some pretty heavy hitting research on programs before applying to them, so that all the programs on your list are actually places you could see yourself, and therefore need these smaller details to differentiate them. I didn't want to go to a program with really expensive med school tuition, only 30 months on service, in a city where I know I couldn't live, where I've heard firsthand, reliable information stating that the training environment was malignant, or that their experience in xyz of oral surgery was poor etc etc etc. If you do this on the front end, through looking on the websites, and carefully using SDN and word of mouth, it will make the questions you ask at interviews all the more specific and useful, and not a waste of your time. Then you can let your gut feeling of "would you be happy for 6 years" take the wheel on the decision making process.

4) This varies by applicant competitiveness, school availability, non-cat responsibilities, finances etc. I would say you're pretty spot on with 10 being a good number. If you need to take an expensive flight and miss 3 days of school to go to an interview, and you have a bunch already, think long and hard about going. However, if it's your third and possibly final interview, you'll think a lot less about it and go through a lot more obstacles to make sure you go.

I went on 12 interviews and feel as if I wouldn't change anything. Some interviews worked out nicely with logistics that I went to two or more during one trip. There are some interviews I feel as if I would not have attended, had they been separate trips. I would say the best thing to do would be to over apply to be on the safe side, to essentially every program you would consider yourself going to. If you're lucky enough to be in the position to have 10+ interviews, start canceling only if there are places that you feel ambivalent about training. I will say that I almost cancelled the interview for a program I ended up ranking highly out of lack of knowledge about the program, and I'm very glad I didn't send that email.

5) Much of the same in terms of being super conversational, and rarely, if ever, intimidating. You'll be asked these bread and butter questions everywhere you go,
  • why oral surgery
  • tell me about yourself
  • what do you like to do for fun
  • tell me about your research
  • tell me about your externships
  • what are some of your strengths/weaknesses
  • why would you be a good fit for our program
This will cover most of the questions. You'll get asked others, but none of them are worth worrying about. Think about responses to these ones that aren't scripted/rehearsed. You'll probably get asked how many interviews you've gone on, and at which programs, and if you're married vs single etc. People have different opinions on how you should answer these, mine is to just answer them honestly.

I felt like the "heat got turned up" only a small handful of times, and it was never out of malice. Just to see what your response to a difficult question/criticism would be. Just be yourself, or better yet be normal, and it will be fine (I jest).

6) I never actually ended up trading an interview with anyone. Just make sure you're regularly checking your email, multiple times per day, to make sure when an interview invite comes out you can respond promptly. That way, you put yourself in the best position to get the interview date that works better for your schedule once it comes out. Sometimes, a later interview invite causes a conflict or changes which date at the previous program works best for you; just email the programs and see if there's any way you can switch things around to make both before starting to cancel. I used the previous year's interview thread to roughly predict when each program would offer interviews; sometimes it kept the same pattern, sometimes it didn't.

In general, shoot for Monday and Friday interviews, if offered, to reduce the amount of time you have to miss from school in order to travel. What's nice about this is that you can also get there a day early, or leave a day early, to check out the city in which the program is located if you have not done so before.

Happy to answer any follow-up questions!
 
Last edited:
About the Ads

klownzo

2+ Year Member
Nov 5, 2015
195
230
Congrats on the interviews! I am curious if you mind sharing your cbse score? Also what kind of score range seemed to be the average from the other applicants that you met? Just trying to get an idea of stats to snag interviews. Thanks!
 
OP
White_Sponge_Nevus
Jun 7, 2018
43
84
Congrats on the interviews! I am curious if you mind sharing your cbse score? Also what kind of score range seemed to be the average from the other applicants that you met? Just trying to get an idea of stats to snag interviews. Thanks!
77 old scoring format. I really only knew the scores of my friends who shared them, not most of the applicants I met. No normal people talk about their CBSE score on the trail, everyone is there to have fun and get to know the programs/each other. There were two programs where I interviewed that either showed the average of the group, or a graph of the group's scores, and I was just below average for both.

The average on the August exam jumped up a few points compared to previous exams, and wouldn't be surprised if scores kept getting higher and higher. However, at this point, I think that if you're above a 70 you do fine, and there really isn't a difference between a 75 vs 85 vs 95 for the vast majority of applicants/programs. I don't know how this will change with the new score.

Let me know if you have any more questions! Happy to answer them.
 
Aug 22, 2019
89
52
Status
Dentist
77 old scoring format. I really only knew the scores of my friends who shared them, not most of the applicants I met. No normal people talk about their CBSE score on the trail, everyone is there to have fun and get to know the programs/each other. There were two programs where I interviewed that either showed the average of the group, or a graph of the group's scores, and I was just below average for both.

The average on the August exam jumped up a few points compared to previous exams, and wouldn't be surprised if scores kept getting higher and higher. However, at this point, I think that if you're above a 70 you do fine, and there really isn't a difference between a 75 vs 85 vs 95 for the vast majority of applicants/programs. I don't know how this will change with the new score.

Let me know if you have any more questions! Happy to answer them.
77 being below average for the interviewee group sounds brutal. good luck in 2 weeks.
 
  • Like
Reactions: White_Sponge_Nevus

docnick95

2+ Year Member
Oct 19, 2017
97
44
Now that the cycle is over, I wanted to share some thoughts in case any underclassmen, who will be interviewing next year or later, on would find them helpful. I can't comment on whether or not it was a successful interview season, because I haven't matched yet, but this is what I thought in general.

1) Interview season is a lot of fun. You'll be meeting applicants from all across the country, and meet some cool people. It's fun to hang out with them, learn about their schools, hang out with residents, learn about their programs, etc. Socials are generally a lot of fun. I was told that the OMFS community is a small world before interviewing, and now I'm starting to see that's really true. I feel as if I'll keep in touch with a lot of people I met on the trail, run into a bunch of people at AAOMS over the next few years, etc. Interview season is also the most traveling I've ever done; it's really cool to see different cities and different parts of the country, each with their own unique vibe, culture, food, etc.

2) Interview season is expensive. I kept a pretty close eye on my expenses. Application fees, secondaries, flights, gas, tolls, accommodations, food, leisure, Uber etc for 12 interviews came in at $7,800. This worked out to $650 per interview, but not all interviews cost the same. If you're applying broadly and need to fly more than drive, it will be more expensive. If you have a smaller couch surfing network or prioritize staying at a hotel very close to the hospital, it will be more expensive. I drove to more long distance interviews than the average person, and probably split accommodations/couch surfed more than the average person. I also didn't interview on the opposite side of the country, so your expenses will vary. If you are applying to only one specific geographic region, your expenses will be a lot less. The bottom line is you need to account for this expense ahead of time, whether it be through requesting additional loans from the school, using private residency interview loans, saving money from a part-time job etc.

3) Everything matters less than we think it does. Nobody cares about your CBSE score, rank, letters etc, or else you wouldn't be there for the interview in the first place. The faculty and residents just want to see if you're normal and if they can tolerate you for 6 years. Have a general idea of how to answer "tell me about yourself", "why oral surgery", "what do you like to do for fun", as well as how to discuss any significant work/life experience you have outside of school, externships, research, and your dental school experience. Knowing how to talk about how all of these things naturally without sounding rehearsed or scripted covers 85-90% of the discussions you'll have during interviews. Just be normal. Other questions you might get are usually not intimidating or random, but these are the bread and butter. If anything, it's more important to think of questions you have for your interviewers. You will be asked "do you have any questions for us?" at every single interview, so that's something you should put some thought into preparing. If you can't think of anything, a good generic cop-out could be asking them their favorite procedure, what their favorite part about being a faculty member is, what advice they would give to their former self, etc.

4) Always keep your eyes and ears open during all your interviews, as you'll learn a ton about the program, especially if it's a place where you haven't externed. Residents are always helpful and willing to answer questions about the program; a great resource. They give honest answers about the program dynamic and culture, their living situation, quality of training etc. Obviously, you want to learn as much as you can about the program at which you're interviewing from its current residents, but residents and fellow applicants alike can sometimes know things about other programs on your list that you hadn't previously learned. There is a lot of information out there so it's great to always be paying attention. Try to consolidate your thoughts and all the info you learned from the presentation/conversations right after your interview so you don't forget; they can start to run together.

I'm happy to answer more specific questions if any underclassmen have them. Disclaimer is I'm just a D4 who finished interviewing and hasn't matched yet. Current residents or anyone else who has been through this before can chime in and throw in their two cents. This site has a lot of dumb nonsense, but also a ton of great information, and I hope this can spark a useful discussion/encourage more people to share info.
What do you mean by secondary applications? Do most residency programs have additional forms to fill out after the ADEA PASS application? Thanks
 

PhansterZ

10+ Year Member
Jun 18, 2006
303
364
Status
Resident [Any Field]
What do you mean by secondary applications? Do most residency programs have additional forms to fill out after the ADEA PASS application? Thanks
Most don't. But some do. It can be things like a supplemental fee (eg. Case Western's $145 (!!!)), mailing official NBDE reports (~$35 to each school when i applied), undergrad transcripts, dental school transcripts, etc. Every program is different. Most though, won't require you to submit anything but what is included in the ADEA PASS Application. The only way to make sure you have everything is to check the program's website, and to call the program coordinators directly to see if your application is complete, and what you need to do to make it complete.
 

docnick95

2+ Year Member
Oct 19, 2017
97
44
For you guys who just went through the app cycle-do you know how competitive it is to match into the 4 yr programs vs the 6 yr ones? Would you say 4 yrs care more about rank than CBSE, for example?

Also, does anyone have a list of the programs that allow residents to moonlight while on/off OMFS service?

Thanks
 
About the Ads